I think it was the year 2000, that a special edition of the HW-97 in .177 was introduced, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the HW company being in business. It's a beautiful rifle, sporting a very nice green and silver laminate stock. I picked this gun up as a pre-owned specimen in very good condition. I got it from Bob Newman, at Air Venture in Bellflower California.
Since it didn't have the original box and paper work, I knew it wouldn't be considered a perfect collector's item, so I decided that like the rest of my guns, she would be a hunter.
The scope of choice would be a Bushnell Legend 5X15X40mm mildot mounted in Beeman 5030H rings.
I tried several pellets for accuracy, and the best in this gun is the Beeman 8.6 grain FTS. Average velocity, over a 20 shot string, was 810 fps with an extreme spread of only 5 fps. This is a very consistent and accurate rifle.
I've taken a lot of ground squirrels with this HW-97 rifle, but there is one particular shot that sticks out in my mind.
A friend and I were finishing up a great day afield hunting ground squirrels. We had hunted our way back to my vehicle, and he was busy putting his gear away. I still had a pellet in the barrel of my rifle, and rather than just shoot it into a dirt bank to empty the gun, I started looking around for a target of opportunity.
As I'm looking over the area, I spotted a ground squirrel sitting in the grass chewing on something. I get a quick range on it with my finder. Sixty six yards. About that time it bends over and disappears into the grass. A few seconds later it pops back up, and is holding something in its front paws, that it starts gnawing on.
I immediately get the Centennial up and rested on my Stoney Point bipod to line up a shot. It's late in the day, and there is virtually no wind, so hold over is going to be the only issue I'll need to deal with.
I rest the first mildot on the very top of the squirrel's head and start to squeeze the trigger, the squirrel suddenly drops down and disappears into the grass again. A few seconds later it's back up and chewing on a late afternoon snack. I let the mildot settle on its head and squeezed off the shot. Instantly the squirrel drops back into the grass.
The shot looked and felt good, but because of the tall grass, I can't see a thing. About the time I was going to take my eye away from the scope and walk over to the spot I last saw the squirrel, a tail slowly rises up out of the grass, and rapidly starts rotating around in a circle. That is the sure sign of a fatal hit.
When I get down to the spot where he dropped, I find a very dead squirrel, and I also see what he was eating, because he still has the acorn in his mouth. The pellet entered at the tip of the right shoulder and passed clear through. Sixty six yards with an 8.6 grain pellet, no wind. I'll take it. The pass through tells me that I have some energy to spare.
What a great way to get rid of that last pellet. The HW-97 Centennial is a great looking, and shooting rifle. I'm glad I added it to my collection of hunting springers.
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